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Palau & Australia : Trip Report
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After months of planning we finally took our annual big trip. This year we wanted to get as far as Chicago as possible. Australia was pretty much it and since we were on that side of the planet we wanted to find a great diving destination which turned out to be Palau. Papua New Guinea was closer and probably at least as good diving but stories of political instability and violence against tourists made us skip that destination for a while. Same with Fiji.

Most of this trip was organized by Dave Zolna of Trip-n-Tour who specialize in dive travel to Micronesia. I handled the flight to Sydney and hotels in Sydney on my own. At first I tried to arrange the trip so as to avoid Sydney during the Olympics but it turned out to be almost impossible to do we resorted to paying triple for hotels and enjoy the Olympics.

Since this was three weeks long, the longest trip we've ever taken, I split up the information about what we saw and did into several sections.

Chicago -> Los Angeles : 1,745 miles
Los Angeles -> Sydney : 7,483 miles
Sydney -> Cairns, Australia : 1,222 miles
Cairns, Australia -> Agana, Guam : 2,100 miles
Agana, Guam -> Koror, Palau : 821 miles

Total miles flown: 26,742

Around Palau

Around Palau
For a couple days before the live-a-board we stayed at a quaint little resort called Caroline Resort. We also took the opportunity to experience Palau the islands which we knew we wouldn't get a chance to do once on the live-a-board including experiencing the Palauan delicacy.
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Sun Dancer II Live-a-board

Sun Dancer II Live-a-board Diving 
The highlight of our trip to Palau is a week long live-a-board on the Peter Hughes Sun Dancer II where we dove the pristine and shark-filled reefs of Palau.
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Around Sydney

Around Sydney 
We flew from Chicago into Sydney and spent two days there, mostly to check out the Olympics, before heading north towards Palau. At the end of the trip we spent three more days in Sydney before heading back to Chicago.
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Sydney 2000 Olympics

Sydney 2000 Olympics
Since we were in Sydney for a couple days during the Olympics we decided to attend a couple events at the last minute. We saw Men's Cycling and Men's Indoor Volleyball Quarterfinals.
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Sydney Taronga Zoo

Sydney Taronga Zoo
One of the highlights of our visit to Sydney was Taronga Zoo. Lily's favorite part was being able to see Koalas up close. Did I ever mention that Koalas smell bad?
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Around Guam

Around Guam
We stopped by Guam twice during our trip pretty much because the only way to get to and from Palau is through Guam. We spent more time than we wanted to but still found ways to entertain ourselves. If you ever wondered what you can see in Guam, check this out.
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Around Cairns

Around Cairns Diving 
After Palau we stopped in Cairns, Australia for a few days to take in some of the sights there and most of all to dive the Great Barrier Reef.
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Kuranda Rainforest

Kuranda Rainforest
A "must see" side trip near Cairns is the Kuranda Rainforest. Not quite what I expected but still interesting. We took a "Skyrail" up the mountain to the village in the rainforest, hung out for a while, then took an old "scenic railway" back to Cairns.
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Reference Library

Reference Library
For your convenience I put information about all the books and web sites we used to plan our travel in one place.
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Around Sydney Around Guam Around Palau Around Cairns

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